Wednesday, December 23, 2020

 The Junior League

Fall Back + Summer Of Lies bonus disc

Kool Kat Musik

Originally released in 2010 as a Joe Adragna solo album, and mostly a one man band effort, with contributions from people like Peter Buck and Susan Cowsill, Fall Back is charming and good in a mid-60's way; think Byrds, Beach Boys, and Buffalo Springfield. The lyrics are about life, and on “Sad America,” the US. The album has been remixed, remastered, resequenced, and in some cases rerecorded. And it comes with a bonus disc.

The Summer Of Flies EP was once only available as a download. It features Adragna with Scott McCaughey. It's even better and more charming, more up-to-date, and the Beach Boys cover “Till I Die,” a bonus song not on the original EP, sounds timeless.

Taken together, this album and EP are two very good efforts, and very winning.

Andrea Weiss

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Big Stir Singles: The Yuletide Wave

Big Stir

This comp is mostly original Christmas songs, one exception being Dolph Chaney's “Jingle Bells” set to Van Halen's “Panama,” making it a tribute. Another is “Angels We Have Heard on High” merged with “Gloria” by Them.

The songs on this comp are fun, and even if one is, say, Jewish like me, it will get you in the right mood for the holiday, which is why I like Alison Faith Levy's “All I Want For Chanukah Is A Ukulele” so much. It's one of the most fun and happy, and makes things inclusive.

Other highlights include “Wash Your Hands of Christmas” by Nick Frater, "Utah Winter" by Addison Love, and “Revels Without A Claus” by Spygenius. 

Yet another great comp from a label that knows how to compile them.

Andrea Weiss

Thursday, December 17, 2020

 Big Stir Singles: The Eighth Wave

Big Stir Records

The latest singles comp from this label is chock full of would-be hits--really every single one of the songs, A and B sides--and it's tempting to play “what if?”

If the playing field were more open and equal, if this music could find a home beyond the modern guitar pop community, what then? Could any of these songs, for instance, The Brothers Steve with “Carry Me” or Leslie Pereira and the Lazy Heroes with “Good Karma,” be top 40 hits? The answer is emphatically "yes," and to take it to it's logical conclusion, what if this did what Nevermind did for grunge?

Everyone should know what to do here; scarf this up, as you'll hear every kind of modern guitar pop here. Spygenius brings college rock with “Cafe Emery Hill.” Librarians With Hickeys' “That Time Is Now” is mellow. “Janey” from mylittlebrother is folkish guitar pop. Jason Berk does a terrific version, even a little better than the original, of “End Of The Line”, my favorite Traveling Wilburys song. “Bird” from EZ Tiger is hard guitar pop. Another wonderful comp from a great label.

Andrea Weiss


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